Taylor began her acting career at age 2, going on to shoot the Gossip Girl pilot when she was just 12. She eventually left the show after increasingly sporadic appearances in its fourth season in 2011. She has been the front person of the band The Pretty Reckless since 2009, recently completing the Death by Rock and Roll Tour.
Speaking to Gossip Girl older brother Penn Badgley on his podcast Podcrushed, Taylor explained that the hit CW series came at a point when she had just started to find her "little groove in [middle] school as a normal kid" after on-and-off attendance as a child star.
In fact, Taylor said that she was initially extremely hesitant about accepting the role of Jenny. "I don't know how much I should share on this show," she explained. "I was convinced of it, let's put it that way. Larger powers than me came down and went, ‘This is a great opportunity.'"
“I was so much younger than all of you," she told Penn, noting that Connor Paolo was the closest in age to her, though three years her senior. In fact, Connor actually took Taylor to his high school when she was freshman age and he was a senior: "He was actually great, when I moved to New York, Connor and I became friends, and he took me under his wing."
That being said, the period proved to be lonely for Taylor. "That's where music became such a solace for me. It was this place where I could just be, writing songs and emoting how I felt because I was by myself a lot," she continued. "I didn't have my own clique. I didn’t fit in with you guys, I didn’t fit in with Connor’s friends — I was younger than them. I was the new girl. I was Grinch girl. I was always in this kind of weird, isolated world — partially of my own creating, probably.”
Dispelling the notion that she was an actor-turned-musician, she explained that acting "was a childhood thing that I got put into at 2 years old. I wasn’t making my own choices then."
"Literally, as soon as I got to an age where I could make my own decisions, it was like a click. It was like I woke up one morning and went, ‘Wait a second. I don’t have to do this? I don’t have to do this other job? I can just play in my band and tour and write songs? I can just do that?’" Taylor reflected, adding that she wasn't exactly sure what prompted the realization. "Granted, [it was] a little more complicated to get out of a television show than that, but the answer was yes.”
Thankfully, the makers of Gossip Girl agreed to have her appear in fewer episodes. “They went, ‘Well, we can’t let you out of your deal, but we can write you out of the show, so you can go on tour. You can't act in anything else' — and I went, 'That's fine!'" she recalled.
“They really allowed me to follow my dream, and I’m forever grateful and thankful to them for that.”
You can listen to the full episode of Podcrushedhere.